Children and Families in a Diverse Society

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Eliminate Stereotypes in the Classroom
ECE 405: Children and Families in a Diverse Society

Eliminate Stereotypes in the Classroom
Stereotypes are all around us and they occur on a regular basis. They exist in our workplace, at home and in schools. Stereotypes have a “powerful influence on children’s perceptions of reality” (York, 2006, pg. 151). As educators it is essential that we encourage an anti-bias classroom environment by implementing material in the classroom that reflects multiculturalism and diversity. According to Stacey York, “many commercial teaching materials are outright stereotypical” (York, 2006, pg. 152). In the classroom, there are many things that teachers can do in order to help eliminate stereotypes in the classroom. At such a young age, children pick up behaviors, attitudes and beliefs from adults. Adults set the example for young children and help build the foundation for life-long beliefs, values and attitudes. Toddlers are “sensitive and catch feelings from adults” (York, 2006, pg. 15). If a child is in a classroom where the teacher is implementing prejudice attitudes or implementing stereotypical material, the children will pick up on these attitudes towards other students and will be easily influenced by other educators as well. As an educator, one can prevent stereotypes by promoting social skills and social action. This can be done by finding classroom materials that encourage children to engage in pro-social skills and social action by displaying a peace pledge or kindness pledge. Steps can be created for children in order to resolve nonviolent conflict with another. A bulletin board can also be created that is dedicated to recognizing people in the classroom, school, and local community who are working towards making a difference in social change (York, 2006, pg. 153). Photographs and posters of individuals working towards social change can also be put around the classroom and on the bulletin board. Introducing the children...
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